The rescue ship for Mediterranean migrants blocked


There are 356 migrants on the Ocean Viking ship, which has not been allowed to dock by Italian and Maltese authorities for two weeks. The boat has picked up several groups of migrants but is running out of food. The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charity group said on Thursday that its rescue ship was running out of food for 356 migrants. The Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking ship, which MSF operates with another humanitarian group, SOS Mediterranee, has welcomed several groups of migrants since leaving in early August.

“There are only five days of standard food rations left,” explains an MSF logistician aboard the Ocean Viking. “Our medical team is increasingly concerned about the rapid deterioration of people’s mental health,” the group said on Twitter. “356 survivors stranded for 13 days. Still no assigned safe place,” he added. The ship has a crew of 31 and is equipped with a clinic and four high-speed rescue boats with a capacity to accommodate up to 200 migrants, according to MSF.

Most of the migrants on the ship are believed to be from Sudan. They include more than 100 children and around 90 of them unaccompanied, MSF said. Three children are under five, he added. The ship, awaiting port access, was refused entry by both Malta and Italy. The Open Arms group had repeatedly asked Italian authorities for permission to bring the migrants back to land but met resistance due to Italy’s ban on private rescue vessels.

The European Commission has urged EU member states to welcome migrants aboard the Ocean Viking.

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